Non-Aligned Movement

The Asian African Conference held in Bandung is considered as the historical point of the beginning and the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The Asian African Conference was held on the 18th-24th of April in 1955. This conference was attended by 29 Heads of State and Head of Government from Asia and Africa. The Asian African Conference was established to identify and recognize several of critical issues developing at that time and to formulate specific international relations policies addressing these world issues. The outcome of the Asian African Conference was imbedded in the Bandung Principles (Dasa Sila Bandung) which was formulated as fundamental principles engaging in international relations and co operations. The Asian African Conference has played an important role in the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement, central figures and leaders were present at the Asian African Conference, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, President of Indonesia Soekarno and President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito would further form and be known as the founding fathers of the Non-Aligned Movement.  

The Non-Aligned Movement was initially formed at the first NAM Summit that was held in Beograd, Yugoslavia, 1-6 September 1961. The first Summit was attended by 25 countries, Afghanistan, Algeria, Yemen, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yugoslavia. The first NAM Summit was focused on establishing a movement other than an organization with means to avoid bureaucratic implications that may emerge in international relations among fellow countries. The Summit also was intended to promote a Movement which was intended to formulate an independent position regarding the bi-polar constellation of international politics at the moment. The Movement would reflect the interest and concern of its member countries.      

Indonesia has played a vital role towards the establishment of the NAM. Since the Asian African Conference held in Bandung in 1955, NAM has played a crucial role in Indonesia's foreign policy. The Bandung Principles has then become the fundamental foundation of the Movement and Indonesia's contribution towards the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement. Indonesia highly considers the importance of the Movement regarding that its core essence reflects the efforts and principle of the people of Indonesia which is stated in the 1945 constitution.

In the beginning of its establishment, the Non-Aligned Movement main purpose was to support member countries in self determination and independence. The Movement has also emphasized on the importance of against acts of Apartheid, veto towards military alignment, against acts of colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, disarmament, non-interference. The movement has also promoted peaceful coexistence, social-economic restructure of the international economic system and also equal international cooperation. Since the 1970's, economic issues has become the focus of member countries of the NAM, the Movement and Group of 77 (G77) has since then hosted series of conferences and meetings with means of establishing a "New International Economic Order".

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the absence of the military-communist presence in Eastern Europe have revoked the discourse of the relevance of the Non-Aligned Movement.  These occurring events and the end of the bipolar system has questioned the relevance of the existence of the Non-Aligned Movement. This has lead a majority of member countries to direct the Movements concern towards focusing on co operations in resolving current issues existing after the Cold War era particularly the gap between the North-South, developed and developing countries have become a serious concern in international relations. This has lead to the shift of concern of the Movement towards focusing on issues related development LDC's, alleviation of poverty and environment in member countries during the 90's.  

The 10th NAM Summit in Jakarta in 1992 has addressed the uncertainty and doubts surrounding the role and future of the Non-Aligned Movement. The outcome of the 10th NAM Summit, The Jakarta Message, has been referred to as a vital document which describes the new objective of the Non-Aligned Movement:     

  • Increase constructive cooperation as an integral component in international relations.
  • Focus on international economic cooperation and developing member countries post independence.
  • Increase economic potential of member countries through South-South cooperation.

Indonesia through its chairmanship at that time (1992-1995) managed to reinstate a constructive North-South dialog based on genuine interdependence, mutual interest, aim and responsibility. Indonesia has also supported and called on member countries to assist Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) recover from its debt through comprehensive, collective and sustainable assistance. To further enhance the South-South cooperation through its collective self-reliance principle, the 10th NAM Summit was also the start of the establishment of the South-South Centre which was established and formed as a result of the Cartegena Summit.  

Efforts of the NAM in increasing and developing the capacity of member countries has been shown through the establishment of the Centre of South-South Technical Cooperation (CSSTC) in Jakarta as one of the outcomes of Cartegena Summit. This centre has been fully supported by the Government of Brunei Darussalam and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia. This centre has conducted various training, research, workshop and seminars that have been participated by the member countries. The programs that have been the focus of the NAM CSSTC has centered on alleviation of poverty, supporting small and medium enterprises, application of information technology and communication. With the establishment of the CSSTC the Movements expectation is to strengthen cooperation of member countries, non-member countries, the private sector and international organization to actively contribute in increasing South-South Cooperation through CSSTC. The effort in reinstating the South-South Cooperation has become a challenge for the Movement in accordance to its relevance now and for future.      

The rise of new global challenges since the beginning of the 21st century has forced the Movement to restructure its policy and capacity as consequence to the presence of the NAM and its contribution towards addressing these issues. Issues related to terrorism, conflicts between member countries and domestic conflicts in member countries, disarmament and weapons of mass destruction, and the effects of globalization in economy and information technology. In this context the Movement has seen itself not of as an object but as an equal partner for cooperation towards other global actors.

The challenges of the 21st century have been recently addressed by the Movement in the 15th NAM Summit held in Sharm El-Shiekh, Egypt. The outcome of the Summit was a Final Document which reflects the views and position of NAM on various current international issues. The 15th NAM Summit was also a showcase of commitment of the Movement on addressing the global economic monetary crisis and its assurance to promote the UN Charter principles, international law, and the increase cooperation between developed and developing countries to resolve these current issues.

In view of the negative effects of the global monetary crisis towards developing countries, the 15th NAM Summit called upon the intense cooperation between the Movement, G-77 and China. A fundamental reform towards the system, the economic foundation and monetary towards the system and foundation of international economy and the global monetary system must be done through encouraging the role of developing countries in decision making and the role of UN.   

The 15th NAM Summit has also reinstated its support of self determination to people victims of military occupation and aggression. This specifically concerning the people of Palestine, in the conflict struck region. The Movement has constantly supported the rights of the Palestinian people in self determination and the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital also a solution towards the rights of the Palestinian refugees as stated in the UN Resolution Number 194. The Movement is against the development and construction of Israeli housing infrastructure on the West Banks of Palestinian land and also in East Jerusalem with intentions of demographical reconstruction in those regions. The Movement has also urged Israel to oblige to the UN Security Council Resolution which states the withdrawal of Israel from the Highlands of Golan to the borders of June 4th 1967 and complete extraction from Lebanese territories.   

Politically, Indonesia has always played a vital role in the efforts of increasing the role of NAM to encourage peace, international security, dialogue, and cooperation in attempts to address intra and inter conflict through peaceful resolution also efforts in tackling new global issues. NAM member countries have also elected Indonesia as chair of the Economic and Social Committee, chair of the working group on Disarmament under the Political Committee and member of the Committee of Palestine.

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  1. Final Document XVI Ministerial Conference and Commemorative Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, Bali – Indonesia, 23 – 27 May 2011.
  2. Bali Commemorative Declaration on the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of The Non-Aligned Movement.
  3. Declaration on Palestine.
  4. Declaration on Palestine Political Prisoners.